Every once in a while, we have discussions here on hubski about hubski. Like Ask Hubski, Reposts and the Better Angels of our Nature, Unfollow Guilt and What Hubski can learn from old-timey forums. It's been a while since we had a discussion like that, and I've been sitting on some unanswered questions & ideas that I'd like to share and discuss.
Over a week ago, kleinbl00 commented on the dehumanizing nature of reddit. It reminded me of an older comment of his and got me thinking. One of the conclusions of earlier discussions was that we should aim to make hubski even more human. It's one of the things hubski does well and what makes this community more than the sum of its parts. There's a reason the bar analogy is often used to describe hubski. I think this place should be about the people and their conversations, just like a bar. At the same time I think that with the combined knowledge that we have here, we can make hubski more human than it already is. The question then is not if, but how: how can we make hubski even more human?
I've got some ideas for y'all to shoot at. They're mostly refined ideas that sprouted from earlier discussions, but they got slightly buried. In one of the posts at the top I talked with thenewgreen about ways to improve the relationship between users. We came to the conclusion that a good step to do that would be to make relationships easier to foster. When I'm discussing with someone here, I'd like to know who I'm talking to. Questions that arise then, are: who are you? How do I know you and what is our history until now? I think I have some ideas to answer those questions.
Who are you?
One of the ideas was to maybe introduce avatars. As much as I'd like to believe I have good memory, it happens every now and then that I forget who the people behind the usernames are. It's just not that simple to link all the conversations I have had with the right username. Avatars would help to recognize other users and make it easier to get to know users. But they are far too obtrusive to the layout, and not having an avatar makes you stand out, which shouldn't happen. Currently, you can embed images in your profile like I have. The bio does a great job at this already. Maybe we could get more people to have a visual bio by introducing something along the lines of MIT's Media Lab: an algorithm that generates a deviation of the logo based on the username sounds cool. Another idea I had was to ask people what piece of art they like best, and display that.
How do I know you?
I don't have a brilliant memory, so once in a while I forget who I'm talking to. Currently there's a counter that tells you how many posts someone shared of you. But I think we can do more with this. Wouldn't it be great to be able to see who that person is in relation to yourself? E.g. they joined x days earlier, they comment more or share less often than you. How many dialogues have you had. Do they share the same things you do? And those metrics are just with what we have available now. These could be visible in a hover window, like insomniasexx designed here
Of course, there is more to relations than numbers. One of the functionalities I'm missing is a quick way to see previous dialogues with others. I'd love to go read my previous conversations with someone, where ideally I could sort dialogues from oldest to newest, the other way around, by most shared and by length. You could define a dialogue as subsequent posts where person A says something, person B responds and person A responds to that. Or make it longer - ABABA - that isn't really important. This could easily be placed on someones bio so you can see the latest dialogue.
What do I think of you?
Ideally, I would look at someone's name and go aah, you're mk, you started this place. But often, that requires me to analyze their bio to figure out who they are, and most people don't have simple labels. Reddit has RES tags, where you can label persons anything you like. Maybe this can be implemented in the hover screen, where you could have a small field to say something about a person. A mnemonic, for me to remember who someone is.
All of these ideas together might be too much, but I do think all of these can make hubski more human. I'd love to hear some thoughts though. Especially the recent influx of people: how do you think we can improve getting to know each other here? Do you recognize a lot of names already?
Btw, due to time zones, I'll probably be responding tomorrow sometime.